The public experiences digitisation first-hand at the first Swiss Digitaltag

The first Swiss Digitaltag took place on Tuesday under the auspices of the Digitalswitzerland location initiative and in collaboration with over 40 partner companies.

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The day of action was under the patronage of Federal President Doris Leuthard and Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann, as well as the participation of Federal Councillor Alain Berset. According to the organisers, the first Digitaltag was a great success: more than 150,000 people experienced on this day in Zurich, Geneva, Lugano, Chur and many other places in Switzerland what digitisation means for our country and each and every one of us. At least as many experienced the day digitally.

The first Swiss Digitaltag is a major event that is unique in Europe. More than 40 companies and institutions vividly demonstrated to the general public in all parts of the country what digitisation means in concrete terms today and in the future, what will change in terms of work, mobility, education, the economy and society, and what opportunities it will open up for the country.

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The first Digital Day was opened by the President of the Swiss Confederation, Doris Leuthard, who travelled on the train from Berne to Zurich in specially equipped SBB digital carriages. The digital carriages ran between Geneva and St. Gallen throughout the day and were open to all passengers. In her opening speech, President Leuthard emphasised that digital networking brings great benefits to individuals, but also to the economy and science. And she appealed for dialogue with society: "We must conduct the debate on digitalisation transparently in order to dispel fears."

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Throughout the day, more than 100 events took place in the stations of Zurich, Chur, Geneva, Lugano and many other locations in Switzerland, bringing the population into contact with digitalisation. In so-called theme worlds, the consequences of digitalisation were explained using concrete examples, and discussions on the opportunities and risks of digitalisation took place at various regulars' tables.

In addition, the launch of a digital identity for Switzerland was announced during the Digitaltag (Werbewoche.ch reported). The "SwissID" should allow people in this country to move around securely in an increasingly digital world and to use online services more easily.

In his address, Federal Councillor Johann Schneider Ammann mentioned that digitisation was a decisive factor for the positioning of Switzerland as a research location and for the success of Switzerland as a workplace. A large part of the event, as well as the entire eleven-hour stage programme at Zurich Main Station, was also broadcast as live streaming via the internet and social media.

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For Marc Walder, initiator of Digitalswitzerland and president of the steering committee, the day of action was a huge success: "Three federal councillors got involved. Thousands of people took part. The day showed that the population has a great interest in shaping digitisation and dealing with the future."

By integrating all parts of the country, it was also possible to make the national importance of digitalisation visible and tangible, according to the press release. Chur was a prime example of how peripheral regions can benefit from digitisation and thus keep jobs in the region. The first Digitaltag was a major logistical event: more than 750 helpers were deployed at the stations in Zurich, Chur, Geneva and Lugano alone. (pd/hae)

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